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Weekly News Roundup (2-6 August): Paid Social

Weekly Roundup

The big social media platforms are continuously tweaking their functionality and innovating (or jumping on the bandwagon) to stay competitive. This week our paid social team is giving the lowdown on the latest developments over at Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. If you’re socially savvy, you’ll want to read on…

1) To Stay or to Go? 

As Twitter removes its ephemeral stories feature, ‘fleets’, WhatsApp releases images that disappear after a single viewing. Fleets failed to attract a new audience to the platform – instead the function was primarily engaged with by those who were already big users of the platform. As a result of this, Twitter has decided to remove them and instead give more prominence to its Spaces (clubhouse) feature. Does ephemerality only work for images/videos, or could it be that Twitter will need to make even bigger, ground-breaking, innovative changes to attract a new audience to its platform?  

2) Power to the Creators 

Meanwhile, YouTube has introduced a $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund to reward creators who offer the most engaging and most viewed content. Facebook & Instagram have also set aside $1bn to lure creators to the platforms. These – along with the Snap Spotlight creator payment programme and TikTok creator fund – show that these platforms are extremely keen to get the best creators on their platform and that this is how they plan to maintain user rates. 

YouTube Shorts is also interesting as it seems to be a play to rival TikTok’s short form format. Will this monetary incentive actually improve the content and transform these platforms from photo and video sharing to more viewing platforms? 

 3) Twitter Buys into E-commerce

Twitter has made an e-commerce push by testing a shopping module on business profiles in the US. Businesses can showcase their products, allowing users to browse and purchase without leaving the app. As we recently noted, e-commerce on social has seen a huge push in the last 18 months or so, so it’s no real surprise that Twitter is now getting involved. It’s also testing tweet shopping options which could open up new ad opportunities for advertisers. It is interesting that this could be a paid-for service as other social shops currently aren’t. Will this be a detractor for businesses or could it be the way all social platforms go? 

4) A Reel Push for Instagram

Instagram announcing longer Reels won’t come as a shock to social media professionals, but why have they done it? Reels was launched to compete with the short-form videos on the ever-growing TikTok. Yes, TikTok has extended the video length for creators as well – but it’s still a platform for people to upload their video content. Instagram already has the feed and IGTV, so by extending the video length on Reels it does seem as though the different parts of the platform are becoming less defined and blurring a little. 

It appears that the update is mostly to benefit creators, enabling them to cross-post their content. Ultimately this ensures that creators don’t favour another platform over Instagram and also means that Instagram users have access to more content, encouraging them to stay longer and present more ad impressions. 

So that’s the skinny on all things social this week – a big thank you to our paid social experts for sharing their knowledge. Get in touch if you think that your brand could benefit from our paid social expertise, or explore our other blog posts for more digital marketing insights. Next we’ll be checking in with the PPC team to find out the latest news in the world of paid search… until next week!